Dos and Don’ts of a Job Interview

Next time you interview, avoid these four things in order to give you the best chance at landing that dream job.

Woman at a job interview, dos and don't of an interview

Most people know the basics of an interview, but when it comes to actually landing the job, there are a few critical things employers are (and are not) looking for. Next time you interview, avoid these four things in order to give you the best chance at landing that dream job.

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Ask how much vacation time you get

You haven’t been offered the job yet, so asking when you can escape from it shows a lack of enthusiasm for the job. There will be time for those discussions later on if they are interested in you, but keep this out of the first interview.

Confess how much you hate your current boss

Bad-mouthing your boss or your current job is not a great way to impress. Keep things positive. People want happy employees—not pessimistic ones who seemingly do a lot of backbiting.

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Admit your dream job is to be a stay-at-home parent

It’s fine if this is your future goal, but it should never be said in an interview. Your interview is about a career within their company. They want to know you are excited to work for them, and you won’t be ditching out in the next six months.

Talk about the drama of your last environment

Similar to badmouthing your boss, whining about the drama in your current workplace is a red flag to employers. It usually reflects poorly on you and can make it seem like you are the one who brings drama to the environment, which employers don’t want.


Know your elevator pitch beforehand

Some interviewers will start by asking you to tell a bit about yourself. This question should never come as a surprise, and it’s vitally important. It’s your chance to briefly prove you are the best candidate for the job. Keep it short, and keep it focused on the job requirements. This is not a time to tell your whole life story.

Come prepared with questions

The right types of questions prove you’ve done your research and illustrate your interest in the job. Sure, you can ask about job specifics, but try to ask questions that show you are on board with the company mission and can’t wait to be part of the team.

Try something like, “I noticed your page views have increasingly gone up in the past year. What’s made that difference?” rather than something like, “What do you like about your job?” The first shows you’ve done research, and you’re genuinely curious what’s helped them be successful recently.

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Be there on time

You already know this, but it cannot be stressed enough. If you’re late for an interview, it’s proving you’ll likely be late for work. Leave extra early and wait to go in if you have to, but never arrive late to an interview.

Send a thank you

Handwritten notes feel more thoughtful, but the most important part is that you write a thank you note after the interview and it’s timely. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but for some recruiters, it’s a deal breaker. Learn how to send an appropriate thank you note here

Now, these are a few tried and true, and not every interview will be according to the book, but what is always key is putting on a smile, being present, and showing genuine interest—unless, of course, you really don’t want that job!



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